Machine Agency in Human-Machine Networks; Impacts and Trust Implications

  • Vegard EngenEmail author
  • J. Brian Pickering
  • Paul Walland
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9733)


We live in an emerging hyper-connected era in which people are in contact and interacting with an increasing number of other people and devices. Increasingly, modern IT systems form networks of humans and machines that interact with one another. As machines take a more active role in such networks, they exert an increasing level of influence on other participants. We review the existing literature on agency and propose a definition of agency that is practical for describing the capabilities and impact human and machine actors may have in a human-machine network. On this basis, we discuss and demonstrate the impact and trust implications for machine actors in human-machine networks for emergency decision support, healthcare and future smart homes. We maintain that machine agency not only facilitates human to machine trust, but also interpersonal trust; and that trust must develop to be able to seize the full potential of future technology.


General: HCI methods and theories Human-machine networks Agency Trust 



This work has been conducted as part of the HUMANE project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 645043.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vegard Engen
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Brian Pickering
    • 1
  • Paul Walland
    • 1
  1. 1.IT Innovation CentreSouthamptonUK

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